Whether it’s one of your New Year’s resolutions or a gift to yourself for the holidays, nothing beats the peace of mind that comes with having your kitchen pantry well organized. Trouble is, many of us don’t know how to begin, let alone accomplish, such a task. Here are the top organizing and storage tricks for the kitchen pantry.
First you must unorganize to reorganize. This may sound scary, but yes, you must empty the shelves. Emptying the shelves makes it much easier to evaluate what you have. Identify food goods that have expired, those you no longer need and want to donate, as well as others that you’d like to keep but wish to better store and organize. Once you see what food items you have on hand, you can better determine how you want to configure your pantry. By eliminating items, you’ll free up more space in your pantry.
Two goals for storing food in any pantry should be keeping food fresh and visible so you don’t forget what you have. Keep your baking supplies fresher by storing them in clear canisters with tight-fitting lids. Maintain the freshness of your cereal by storing it in a generously sized canister as well.
One of the best ways to keep food visible, particularly your canned goods, is with a set of bleachers so you can show off your whole inventory at a glance. This is the best way to prevent any canned goods from getting lost in the back of your pantry.
Depending on the size of your pantry, you may have enough space to store equipment like small electronic appliances. In some cases it makes sense to store mixing bowls or baking pans near baking supplies in your pantry. This keeps things handy and makes you more efficient in your kitchen.
Another ideal way to take full advantage of the space in your pantry is with long, narrow trays that slide easily and use the full cabinet depth. Choose trays with tall sides and you can corral bags of rice and beans for better storage.
Some days you want a snack that’s salty and other days you want something sweet. Consider storing individually wrapped snacks in a bin. Organize your snacks by type, labeling one bin “Salty” and the other “Sweet.”
Ever notice how you use the same ingredients every time you bake a cake or cookies? Baskets and trays are the perfect way to store common baking ingredients like vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next time you’re ready to do some baking, simply pull out the basket or tray and you won’t have to hunt for those individual items anymore.
As you arrange food items in your pantry be sure to keep frequently used items at eye level. This will make you more efficient in your kitchen. Better to use your pantry’s floor space for recycling containers and produce bins than have to constantly move them or reach around them in order to get food.
Remember that certain food items in your pantry are stronger than others. The last thing you want is to crush a loaf of bread or potato chips. Prevent this from happening by storing these items in baskets with removable liners for quick and easy cleanup.
Finally, keep all your jars and bottles together too by using a lazy Susan. Lazy Susans make accessing sandwich spreads, vinegars and oils from your pantry is a breeze.